New university-led hub to power cybersecurity research in Canada
The University of New Brunswick (UNB) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have established a new consortium for cybersecurity research in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada’s cybersecurity innovation hub.
The Cybersecurity-NRC Cybersecurity Collaboration Consortium (CNCCC) brings together over 50 researchers and students from the NRC and UNB’s Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) to conduct cybersecurity research for critical infrastructure focussing on IoT, security, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and natural language processing.
It is anticipated their research will lead to discoveries and advances in cybersecurity from publications, patents, and the commercialisation of technology, as well as provide training opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, the NRC said.
The new partnership builds on a 15-year relationship of scientific innovation between the UNB and the NRC, including a two-year collaboration on cybersecurity.
“This collaboration centre brings together leading researchers to form a joint team and make significant advances in cybersecurity for Canadians. We are proud to partner with UNB’s CIC and look forward to the success of this exciting collaboration,” NRC President Iain Stewart said.
With cyber threats growing in sophistication and magnitude across the world, the need for advancements and innovation in cybersecurity research has never been more critical. Canada, it appears, is a prime target for cyber attacks. A study last year showed it had the third most cyber incidents in the world, behind the US and UK at first and second place.
In a 2017 survey on cybercrime, 21 percent of Canadian firms reported their operations were affected by cybersecurity incidents. In a separate survey last year by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 40 percent of respondents said they were victims of cyberattacks, while 10 percent said they suffered frequent attacks.
In Canada’s national Cybersecurity Strategy unveiled in 2017, the government earmarked US$507.7 million from Budget 2018 to be spent across five years to strengthen the country’s cyber defenses. The strategy is rooted in three key themes: collaborating with partners to respond to cybercrime, supporting cybersecurity research, innovation, and talent, and working in coordination with provinces to advance cybersecurity.
Towards that end, the NRC has been increasing its collaboration with regional ecosystems and with universities, polytechnic institutions, and colleges, and establishing collaboration centres across the country.
Ali Ghorbani, director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC), said the creation of the CNCCC was in line with the government’s cybersecurity agenda.
“The University of New Brunswick has been pioneering cybersecurity research and innovation since the turn of the century. Our leadership in cybersecurity is recognised in the 2018 Senate report on the state of cybersecurity in Canada as well as in the recent federal budget.
“The primary goal of the [CNCCC] in Fredericton is to strengthen Canada’s leadership in cybersecurity research, innovation, and talent development, as outlined in the National Cyber Security Strategy,” he said.
UNB started the CIC in 2017 in collaboration with technology giant IBM. The institute is dedicated to cybersecurity research, training and industry collaboration. The new consortium will fall under the CIC.